Davia Shares her Journey to Becoming an Animator

By Cait-Amoi Goulbourne

November 12, 2021

Davia Morris is a past student of the Vocational Training Development Institute (VTDI), one of Advance’s partner institutions in Jamaica. Davia was enrolled in the Animation Programme, an Advance-supported program. She was also an Advance scholarship recipient.  


Davia:  Hi, my name is Davia Morris. I’m an animator as well as an illustrator. I’m a proud past student of  [the] Vocational training Development Institute, also known as VTDI, and I am an Advance beneficiary as well. 


Davia: A little bit about me. I started drawing at the end of high school, completely self-taught. I mostly specialize in cartoon and anime style drawings, maybe a little bit of Naruto, some Dragon ball Z. 


Davia: After high school I went on to Garmex where I did level two animation. 


Davia:  So why I’d applied for the scholarship? At the moment, I was currently doing my level 2 animation at Garmex, and I decided I need to take this higher, can’t just stay with this one piece of paper, you got to acquire more papers so you can get better jobs. And it was through my mother who constantly scours social media and she saw the scholarship being offered through USAID for me to be able to continue animation at VTDI. And she was just like, hey, this is level three animation you already have level two, it’s at VTDI, the Advance Program covers everything for you, and she was just like try out for it. 


Davia: I was just like, hmmm mommy, I don’t think I’m qualified, but then she was just like no, you are definitely qualified, you have to go through for this. I know you got this. 


Davia: So, I was there one day in class at Garmex, and then we were there, and I got a phone call. I stepped outside on the phone, oh, I was shortlisted for the Advance scholarship to do animation up at VTDI. 


Davia: I myself was quite shocked. I couldn’t really believe it. I don’t understand how I kept my composure on the phone. Then later when I went home, I was just like, oh, my God, mommy, mommy, you won’t believe this. I went through, I got the scholarship. I got shortlisted for it. And she was like, did you really expect any less of yourself? 


Davia: And make a long story short, I went through the following week, did the interview for the scholarship, lo and behold, I did get it. And then afterwards [my mother and I] went out and we got milkshakes to celebrate the occasion. 


Davia: What the scholarship meant for me and my family, obviously financial stability, because before you know, when you’re going off to college or anything and you’re thinking about those prices per term, those term prices are very deadly and very scary. So thankfully with the scholarship provided by Advance program funded through USAID those two years at VTDI went by so smoothly. 


Davia: For me, personally, I was jumping from level 2 animation straight to level 3, just a natural progression and [with] that lovely Associate Degree in Animation from VTDI itself, I am now in a better position locally, and quite possibly internationally, because you know, you never know what could happen, to get a job in animation industry. 


Davia: The animation program at VTDI was very well-rounded. It covered a lot of topics that I would definitely need to become a better animator. We did courses such as 2D animation, 3D modeling, design principle, colour theory, story boarding and a bit of script writing in the end. 


Davia: Despite the challenges it was still very much enjoyable, and I will say that script writing was my favorite, because it gave me a little break from the constant drawing. 


Davia: In addition to the scholarship, I also received a lot of support from Advance in other areas such as career development. I received invitations to webinars that contain a lot of information that I can benefit from. 


Davia: One such webinar that I can recall quite easily is the webinar in February with presenter Miss Aisha Jones. She spoke of entrepreneurship and freelancing and one such thing that really stood out to me was networking that she spoke about, and she said it was of utmost importance to build a network of people who are within your local industry, and I really took that to heart. 


Davia: I finished my time at VTDI September 2020, and as that was in the middle of the pandemic, jobs weren’t exactly the easiest thing to come by. Luckily, I was able to get a few short-term freelance jobs online, mostly with international clients, but it wasn’t anything really steady. 


Davia: January 26, 2021, important for two reasons: one [it] was my grandfather’s birthday [and] two, I got a call from an international client with my first big job.  


Davia: She had gotten my contact number through word of mouth, I think possibly through one of my lecturers and she’s a Jamaican, but she was looking for local artists to work on her project, which is children’s books. I was only supposed to do one book, but then because she liked my art style, I got a larger contract, So I am now working on five books. I have already completed four. 



Davia: I am grateful for the journey, and to be a beneficiary of the Advance Program funded by USAID, because well, I’ve finally made it. I’m an animator. 

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